Notes From The Road: Part 1
So, I wanted to share with you my latest 10 day road trip. After driving over 5,000 miles, I can say that I went to a lot of places I've never been, I tried a lot of things I've never done. The point of this trip was to see as many places as possible in 10 days and I can say that was a complete success.
My journey started flying into Boise Idaho, the closest airport to my first stop and the cheapest. Renting a car was vital to getting around to all the places that I wanted to see. So let’s keep it short and sweet and get to the first 5 days of my road trip!
Day 1: Yellowstone National Park/Salt Lake City
Yellowstone National Park was my first stop on this trip. If you're like me, the first thing that pops into your head when you hear anything about Yellowstone is "Ole Faithful" but there is so much more than that there (even though it was completely awesome). Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and covers 3,500 square miles. With that being said Yellowstone has over 300 active geysers and over 290 waterfalls.
Overall, Yellowstone is like visiting a different planet. The terrain is so different and the smells…well it stinks by most of the active geysers because of the sulfur. Yellowstone is also known for its wildlife, and it's not uncommon to come across traffic jams when people spot a moose, elk, bison or bear along the side of the road.
Grand Prismatic Spring was my favorite part of the park, but also probably the most crowded. The colors are just amazing and vibrant. I wanted to see it from above like I’ve seen in other photos on IG but because of time, I couldn’t make that possible. Definitely next time!
We stopped first at the Midway Geyser Basin, where you can walk on boardwalks around Excelsior Geyser Crater and the famous Grand Prismatic Spring
The Grand Canyon aptly named – the canyon carved out by the Yellowstone River is huge and deep. Very grand & beautiful indeed. Lower Falls is a must-see for anyone visiting. While the 109-foot Upper Falls is no joke, the 308-foot Lower Falls is far more impressive.
Day 2: Zion National Park/ Under Canvas
Visiting Zion National Park in Utah was probably one of my favorite destinations even though it was pretty rough. When I arrived, It was over 100 degrees and the line to get on the bus was at least an hour. The Zion Canyon scenic drive is only accessible by shuttle. Zion’s best known hike is “Angel’s Landing” which is very frightening if you are scared of heights. It offers a very narrow path marked with flimsy chains for you to hold onto. Unfortunately, this trail was closed due to weather damage. Instead, I took on the “Observation Point” hike (stop #7 on the Zion Shuttle).
The hike is beautiful but is most definitely challenging. At 8 miles long with 2,300 ft of climbing, the hike itself is pretty steady but also strenuous to the viewpoint. Whenever you get off the shuttle, the climbing begins immediately and you gain some serious elevation pretty quickly. The switchbacks in the beginning aren’t all that exciting but it get so much better after that. I’m not going to lie to you, the hike for me personally reminded me how out of shape I was, even though I prepared myself with weeks of stair master training #LOL. Yea, it didn’t help much. I like to blame the heat so let’s just go with that. 3 hours later, I made it to the top and of course the views were worth it.
Where I stayed: Zion Under Canvas
Under Canvas in Zion was my favorite spot to stay at. I’ve never been “glamping” before but it definitely makes me want to go back again-and-again. What is glamping? It’s pretty much luxury camping or camping “in-style”. Under Canvas has multiple location in: Moab, Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, Mount Rushmore with Great Smoky Mountains and Grand Canyon. Their canvas tents come with a king-size bed, ceramic sink, shower, toilet and furnishings just like you would see in a hotel room. It was super hot so I think i’ll go back when it a little bit cooler outside since there is no air conditioning in the tents.
Day 3: Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree is one of the most eclectic destinations in California…well, in my opinion. It’s home to countless cacti, rock formations, and yes, plenty of Joshua Trees! I love this pocket of desert. I took some amazing photos here for a fashion post: check it out here. What I loved most about Joshua Tree is the Airbnb that I stayed at. It was another lovely glamping experience and even though it lacked most of our “luxury” amenities that we take for granted, It was my favorite spot to stay at. It had such a distinct eclectic/bohemian look & feel, complete with an outdoor shower and bath tub in back to soak in after a long day of exploring. This place is perfect little home if you’re traveling solo or with someone else.
Day 4: LA (Universal Studios)
I started off the morning early & left for LA just so I could spend the day at Universal Studios. I hadn’t been back in at least 10 years. Harry Potter world wasn’t even a thing at that time do I was so excited to go. For those of you that grew up with the characters in the books and movies, visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a dream come true. But, even if you don’t count yourself a fan of the books or the movies, Universal’s tribute to the world of Harry Potter is an amazing experience. Of course, the first thing I had to have was the Butter Beer. So. Freaking. Good. I had three #noshame. Oh, and the ride inside Hogwarts, was the best! I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time. You can also visit iconic shops like Ollivanders Wand Shop, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, Magical Menagerie, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment and Quality Quidditch Supplies. Make sure to grab lunch at The Leaky Cauldron. I was super impressed with the quality of food.
Besides Harry Potter World, I tried the New Kung Fu Panda ride, Krustyland “The Simpsons” ride ( my 2nd favorite) and the Jurassic Park ride. The Jurassic Park ride was such a long wait but it’s onlu because it’s the last year it will be running because soon, there will be a whole new Jurassic Park that will be epic!
Day 5: San Francisco
San Francisco, my new favorite city, was just as I imagined it to be, a dream BUT that wasn’t how I first saw it. When I woke up the next morning and started to walk, I didn’t know I was walking through the Tenderloin District. It’s a place that is boarded with the most wealthiest neighborhoods but inside, it’s too be avoided and can be dangerous. It’s not a place you want to be walking alone. Just imagine walking and seeing poop on the sidewalk and a drug deal happening in the open…yea, that was my first look of the city. But as I walked, It got much better.
San Francisco may be small but it sure is packed with tons of “must-sees”. The city by the Bay truly has it all, from hiking to biking, snacking and drinking. Plus, it’s the most liberal city so feel free to wear and look however you want! I walked everywhere, a total of 15 miles to be exact. Honestly, I didn’t care because I got to see every corner of the city.
My first stop was to eat breakfast of course at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe. There biscuits and spreads are so damn good. They are really known for their cornbread and jalapeno jelly. After breakfast was the cold walk towards the financial district. While walking, I couldn’t believe how long the lines were to ride the trolly (super iconic to San Fransisco). Next I walked to Fisherman’s Warf, Pier 39 & Ghirardelli Square. This area covers several blocks along the waterfront and is one of the most touristy things to do in the city. There are street performers, souvenir shops, and tons of restaurants. As a snack, I decided to just pick up my go to: a hot dog #lol.
I made my way To Lombard Street, the most curvy street in the U.S. Since the street was so incredibly steep, the city decided to make it a switchback road down to the bottom
Chinatown was the one place I really wanted to go to. Every city i’ve been to has a unique one but San Fransisco’s is the oldest one in the U.S. & the biggest. It was amazing how elaborate the decorations were. It has some of the best places to eat Chinese food (dim sum) in the country, tea houses, bars, and souvenir shops. Definitely one of my favorites spots.
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks as well as a piece of engineering art . You can walk across the bridge, or bike if you want (recommended), drop in at the visitor’s center to pick up some souvenirs, or just stare at it from every angle and take a stupid amount of pictures like I did. I was a little disappointed how foggy it was but it also made for some pretty awesome moody shots.
Make sure to get a great photo opp at the Painted Ladies: a famous pop culture landmark made popular by the show “Full House”. You can get the best photos from across the street on the little hill in Alamo Square Park.
My last stop for the night was exploring Japantown. I wish I was able to spend the afternoon wandering through all the Japanese shops and malls but I ran out of time before they started to close up shop. I ended up eating dinner at a small ramen cafe: Waraku. I definitely would recommend!